It’s Halloween time and youth across the region are transforming themselves into superheros, unicorns, zombies, or their favorite Fortnite characters. No matter the costume kids are imagining themselves as something different… We all do this from time to time. Often if we can see ourselves accomplishing certain future goals it may help us to achieve them when the time comes. This mental process is known as episodic future thinking and is often used by athletes and successful people in various walks of life. It refers to the capacity to imagine or simulate experiences that might occur in one’s personal future. When we create learning environments that introduce youth to 21st century competencies and skills development we are asking them to see themselves as future problem solving professionals. For example, when we asked youth to try coding, designing and building their own rockets this summer we were asking them to imagine themselves as aerospace engineers. In this issue of Brilliant Labs Magazine: The Innovation Within we take a retrospective look at the past few months to consider how our summer tech camps, special events, and professional development has helped to inspire youth, educators, and communities. We’ll explore how asking people to imagine themselves as future makers may not only inspire them to reach personal goals, but how it can help inspire their communities and others to become more innovative. Brilliant Labs had the privilege this summer to work collaboratively with more than 140 community partners, and benefit greatly from more than 66 summer students who helped us deliver our free summer programming to more than 80 communities and reaching more than 13,000 youth. Through collective impact, and support from private sector and public sector to funding partners like CanCode, Canada Summer Jobs, and the provincial governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador. These camps challenged youth to consider themselves to be designers, engineers and architects of their own future. Rocket Day was a perfect example of episodic future thinking as we asked our summer camp participants, their families, and their communities to imagine themselves as computer scientists, scientists, mathematicians,entrepreneurs, and aerospace engineers.
We asked participants to design and launch rockets that they built themselves. This process created enthusiasm between participants and within communities as it became a celebration of innovation. Participants worked together to solve problems with rocket design and rocket launching. Each proving to themselves that they are good problem solvers and can be innovative when they have to be. This event was not only a great success this past summer but it will help us kick off a celebration beginning this spring and leading into the summer of 2019 for the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight and lunar landing. Stay tuned for new aerospace innovation challenges coming in the new year!
As you read through this edition of the Brilliant Labs Magazine, you’ll find information on our most recent Innovation Challenge: Halloween Hacking & Animatronics and how it lit up social media with #brillianthackoween projects. We challenged students to take regular Halloween props and transform them using code, hardware hacks and whatever they could get their hands on. The results are nothing short of brilliant and we’re happy to share what these young makers created. Seeing yourself as a maker is not always an easy task, but seeing is believing. Earlier this fall we hosted 55 educators at the New York City Maker Education Forum where we asked our delegates to imagine themselves as makers and experience first hand how other educators have transformed their classrooms, their students, and their communities through maker-centered learning practices. Join our new Brilliant Labs staff, Melissa Lee, Gary Gaudet and Carron McCabe along with Jacob Lingley as they share their Maker Faire experience in the article the Greatest PD On Earth and how they hope to uncover more makers and innovators in classrooms across Atlantic Canada. Finally, we talk with Natacha Vautour of l’École Abbey-Landry in Memramcook, NB and discover she is a natural maker who started by doing what she loves, which is sewing. She used this skill to inspire a maker movement in her school. Today she inspires entrepreneurship and maker education at Abbe-Landry and beyond. We hope you will find inspiration and imagine yourself as a change maker in your community, classroom or school. Now, let’s uncover the innovation within!